tv [untitled] June 16, 2011 12:30pm-1:00pm PDT
neighborhood. not going to make this too long, but on this matter, we just found out about this not more than five days ago. at the restaurant was going to be opening -- or that they were applying for this restaurant conditional use and that it was going to be southwestern, which came as a big surprise to us, to me and my family. since then, it has put us in a difficulty with lots of feelings going on all of the place. what about us? what about our family? what about our business? what about our employees? so this is a big surprise to us and left us with lots of emotions, and we have yet to understand exactly what this all means to all of us, including to our community. it is therefore that we are asking for a continuance and asking for some time to just process this and take a look at where at all its with us and our
family and business and community. commissioner olague: thank you. >> when she told me about this, i became concerned because there were a lot of people back will be affected. i'm not sure what the implications are of these changes, and i think that's -- that it would be necessary to have some time to process this. any changes can be scary for the employees, not just for the owner. i have been part of the mission community for over 20 years, and i have been there -- well, i am
not sure how this works, but i thought about the balance. is this going to interrupt the balance that there is in the business? it could be good. it could be bad, but we are not sure. i think that it would be necessary to have a little time to process and see what the implications or the changes are. thank you. >> good afternoon, commissioners. i am with the organization about a block away from the proposed project. i am not here to speak about the merits of the project here probably a fine establishment. we are here to talk about the process and really put notice on the planning department in terms of doing its work, real planning
work. i am concerned about the precedent that this sets, that the landlord of the building to go into such disrepair suchdbi came out -- such disrepair that dbi can now three times at the detriment of the longtime tenants serving the needs of our community. if this commission allows -- grants conditional use under the circumstances, does that give the green light for other landlords that allow their buildings to go into disrepair? we heard from the gentleman that it is going to take close to $500,000 to do those repairs. of course bombay bazaar can afford that with those price points. a significant amount of time that the project sponsor can go out and talk to merchants, the longtime businesses, you know,
this -- i am glad that they have gotten support from the mission delores association. very unique working families -- we have a lot of large buildings with working families. we got a senior center right down the street. i am afraid that those residents are being out reached to. a lot of changes on this corridor. from streetscape to businesses. we have lost a lot of basic goods and services that working families use. it is great, the high-end restaurants, but at what point do you say enough? how about a laundromat, a nail salon, basic stuff where people live and work here can shop? i think those are the impacts that we are seeing, and i feel that the planning department is not doing its job to really ascertain what the implications of these types of projects -- i
mean, he mentioned about a dozen different projects that are opening up. we have not seen anything. we have not seen any reports or any out reached on this, so i am asking that this commission continue it said there can be profound, deep out rich and that the planning department can go ahead and do some of this analysis and some of this investigation and look into the reasons why bombay bazaar was forced out of this place. thank you. commissioner olague: is there any additional public comment on this item? >> good morning, commissioners. sorry to be late. i am the president of the mission merchants association. mission merchants are the oldest merchant association in san francisco, and still a pretty big one as well. at one point, we were the biggest.
whereas we very much are always in favor of things happening and moving forward and new business is getting going in the neighborhood, we are, as a group, somewhat concerned with the fact that this project is moving next door to puerto allegre, which is a family-owned restaurant which has been anchoring that block for 30 years. there was not very much dialogue. there was not the outrage that probably should have taken place. so it would be ideal if we could put this item over and allow all the parties involved to sort of carry-on a conversation and get everyone comfortable and into a
place where they all feel good about potentially being neighbors. thank you very much. commissioner olague: thank you. is there any additional public comment? seeing none, public comment is closed. usually i do not lead off the discussion, but today i feel compelled to, so i will. i have never been in such disagreement with a staff reporter in a long time, actually. i think that the intensification of use on valencia street is something we really need to look more closely at. i think to kind of sort of conclude that there is a balance and not an over saturation of restaurants and bars and liquor licenses being granted on valencia baby needs a little more analysis, and i respect mr. teed -- teague's work, and i think he does stellar work, but i think this report is lacking
some reflection on the impacts of this kind of intensification and addition of a restaurant and bar on the block, that corridor. we recently granted lee a year license -- we recently granted a liquor license, to a place that has been in the neighborhood for close to 70 years. they have done a lot of work with the community. i would not exactly call it a community-service restaurant. it is a destination restaurant, as i really categorize this. a destination restaurant. more than a community-service restaurant. i think the price point may not really be what i would -- but let's talk about that at some point more. i want to know what we look at, how we consider something community-serving.
i'm sure there would be people that would go there that go to some of the other establishments that might have a higher price point. i remember the restaurant that was there for several years that everyone in the community you still love going there. it was chinese food. they served brown rice and healthy alternatives. you could all be there for under $10, and it was kind of a nice place for a lot of folks who worked and lived in that neighborhood to go, and i believe they got this place -- they did not leave by choice, and i understand that they are on divisadero now. they were disappointed about having to leave that place where they work for several years. also, i was a little disappointed that the project sponsor was -- did not do extensive outreach. i called the staff person because i walked by on monday
after receiving some calls from community members who said they had not been contacted by project sponsor on this item. the one thing that i would like to inform project sponsor of now -- they did -- it did not have to, but they have done extensive outreach. they have been in the community for several years. they are a few blocks up. i think around 21st and valencia. and tacolicious did extensive outreach to the neighbors are around the community. as did the person who is opening up the new orleans-style restaurant/bar. they did extensive outreach. i got bogged by them several times. we all got invited out to the site. they had neighborhood groups and neighbors meeting and everything else, and when i called staff to find out what out -- place as
far as this project was concerned, i understand it was only to mission dolores, which is five blocks away -- when i called to find out what outreach took place. i was shocked to hear that the project sponsor did not even have the courtesy to go next door to the family-owned business, a family business that has been operating in the mission for close to 40 years, to introduce themselves and, you know, sit down and have some conversation about what their intended use was. i was shocked, actually. i could not believe it. to me, at a minimum, project sponsors going into a neighborhood should have -- i mean, just the sense, the thought of going next door. when i was sitting there, i guess, after the staff person informed the project sponsor that there might be some questions asked about the outrage that they apparently he ran in and talk to the brothers working in the kitchen and handed them a card and said he wanted to set up a meeting --
that was just monday. it is a little bit too late for that. i am going to ask -- i cannot make a motion clearly. i would like to see a continuance until the next available calendar, which is september 16 or something along those lines, so that project sponsor can talk -- i was shocked when i heard mission merchants did not get a call. they are, like, you know -- mission merchants is, like, in everything. i always get bombarded with phone calls every time a business goes in there. i talked to some of the other nonprofits that are a block down, and they never got any calls, and the outreach. i understand bombe never really wanted to leave the place, but they were sighted around a water leak that was never addressed by the landlord -- bombay never really wanted to leave. i think the staff does need to start thinking a little bit differently on some of the transformation of the neighborhood and the impact it
is having. we grant the same courtesy to middle poked here we grant the same courtesy to union and north beach and other neighborhoods, and i do not see why the mission should be any exception to that. i would support a motion to continue this to september 16 or 15. commissioner antonini: this brings up the question of noticing and what is appropriate and what is not. it would seem as though if our policies are in place and our policies are correct, then the noticing should be such that just by noticing alone, if it is required, and i think it is for a project like this, that that should be worried enough for groups who are concerned in the neighborhood to proactively contact the project sponsor with their concerns. it is a two-way street, and i'm not sure whether that really occurred, but if we are doing -- if we do not require the
noticing, it is not done in a timely manner, then we should make sure that our policies do include proper noticing, and it is up to everyone to make their feelings known if they get noticing through city sources, so that is the first thing. the second thing is i think, reading this over, this is a wonderful project and it will only probably help the business for the neighboring restaurant that has been there a long time. a lot of times, you go to a place and say maybe you will try to place next door instead, whereas you might not even come into the neighborhood or think about going to the restaurant that has been there a long time until you are drawn in by the new establishment. i think one thing builds on the other, so it is a good thing. however, i am not un-supportive of a continuance. i think it is good that we do have conversations and project sponsor, who i am familiar with their other products and their first class, and i am sure this one will also be the same,
addresses something that they brought up in their conversation, which is a type of food that is not addressed to much in san francisco today. i think it will be a very good project, but i support staff's findings on this. they talk about the jobs it will create any percentage of bars and restaurants in the area, which is still below what we considered to be an oversaturation. however, whether this should have been on consent or not, i am not sure. i can go along with that, but i would be supportive. i guess the earliest we could do it is september. commissioner olague: yes, everything is close, and we are on vacation. commissioner antonini: it is too bad we have to go that long, but i hope the project sponsor will continue working with the neighborhood and hopefully we can get everyone in agreement. this will be a good thing when it comes back to us in september. i would move to -- i know we have some other commissioners,
but i will move a continuance to september 15. commissioner fong: second. commissioner sugaya: i think oftentimes that -- to me, there is a difference between the kind of standard conditional use notification procedures required under the regulations compared to a kind of more -- i hate this word -- proactive stance on the part of any project sponsor. i am not singling you guys out. that is to have some approach with respect to the location and realizing that perhaps there should be more outreach to the immediate neighborhood area. not just mission dolores. i do not live there, but i know them very well for other reasons. but there is a merchant's association and the whole valencia corridor over at mission street.
i think that needs to be address, so in the interim, not only should you be talking to the immediate neighbor, which i understand you tried to make contact with already, but the mission merchants' group, and you might also want to talk to the supervisor in that district. anyway, i did second the motion, and i will support a continuance. >> commissioners, the motion on the floor -- commissioner olague: commissioner moore. commissioner moore: there is another subject we might want to get out of this as a long-term discussion. intentional neglect on buildings, in areas in order to have basically one tenant will out and have someone else take over. i think the tracking system of how they are dealing with building neglect, as it seems to
apply here, is of great concern to me. in economically difficult times, there is maintenance and there is letting a building intentionally go. it is a subtle point sometimes, but it speaks to something which in an economically depressed time, i am very concerned. the city does rely on small businesses, the giggly the ones that have historically held the place together to survive and stay strong, but it was supporting us to prevent neglect and preventing violation of codes and dbi reminders. i am looking towards you to pick that up. we have enough connectedness and dated to be able to do that without all these incentives. we have indeed 3 notices that dbi has identified issues for the building. there is the possibility to connect other data and have an action on that because i do
believe we need to stand stronger and help prevent that people are being displaced because of economically rundown buildings and other people being able to just move in and the highest bidder gets the prize. i am not specifically speaking about you. i am speaking policy here, so do not be offended by what i am saying. in your case, this is something that is of concern to us as commissioners, and that is called displacement where we have rules for tenants. we do not have rules for smaller merchants, in addition to the point which commissioner olague mentioned, which is looking at neighborhood protection to preserve the health and mix of those services, which serve the neighborhood. we had that discussion with the north -- the north beach neighbors all the time, and i do think this area might warrant a special area study or a
neighborhood sketch plan, by which we can figure out what changes are desirable and what would tip the balance. i want to keep us on the talking side of larger issues. we have agreed to continue this. instructions i have given our that we expect the applicant to reach out more to the neighbors, but we are saddled with other obligations which take this whole thing further. this is only one example out of many. commissioner antonini: i think we also cannot jump to conclusions. we have no knowledge of what exists here, and there are all kinds of leases. some are troubled that, and some require them to take care of almost everything, including in the case of bombay. there was a letter missing from the sign, and i'm not sure who was supposed to put that back in. we do not know what that contract entails. it could be neglect on the part
of that person who was leasing. i'm not saying it was, but before we jump to conclusions, we have to know exactly what the circumstances are, and they can vary. if it was in fact -- i'm not saying that this instance or any instances necessarily of neglect by design, but if that is proven to be the case, of course, then we know what the lease in tailed and what was not done by the property owner, but it could have very well then the person who was leasing it, too, and the product was not very good, and they did not keep their end of it. there are a lot of reasons. neighborhoods change, and sometimes neighborhoods are not very viable because they are not run very well. i am not saying this was not, but there are all kinds of different circumstances. i think we need to be careful when we start dictating who can be in business and who cannot. commissioner moore: i was not trying to apply that we were dictating. i was just trying to make sure
that we keep our controls actively and proactively working. commissioner olague: i do not know if this is something we can ask for. the city attorney can correct me if there is some sort of history as far as dbi is concerned. the bombay business -- i do not think they wanted to leave the neighborhood, and the relocated to stockman a spirit i remember the product that they serve was one that even got national attention on certain food programs because they served ice creams with unique flavors. it seemed to me to be a very popular neighborhood-serving business that had a retail component along with, like, fast food and that whole thing. it seemed to me -- i cannot say it. i do not know, but it seemed to be a viable business at the time that their departure occurred. >> of commissioners, the motion
on the floor is for continuance of this item to september 15. project sponsor is to engage in our reach to the community -- our reach to the community merchants association and continue working with staff workingoutreach. commissioner antonini: aye. commissioner fong: aye. commissioner moore: aye. commissioner sugaya: aye. commissioner olague: aye. >> thank you, commissioners. the item has been continued to september 15. public hearing remains open. commissioners, you are now at commissioners' questions and matters. commissioner antonini: just a few comments and some questions on some general things we struggle with all the time. i think it is very important that the public understand that we often have to differentiate between negative impacts that a business will have an positive impacts, and sometimes, a lot of attention is paid to the
negative side and very little to the positive side. i interpret negative impact as impacts on light and air and traffic, perhaps causing negative effects on neighboring businesses and things like that, whereas positive impact such as adding jobs and increasing property values and, you know, less crime and fewer vacancies -- i mean, these have to be addressed. my feeling is we are not obliged to mitigate a positive impact, but our job is to mitigate negative impacts. also, when we talk about groups in the community, we have to make sure that we always get a representative sample of groups from a community and we do not just out one group for pretense or purports that they represented community to be the only group we listen to. obviously, it is always whoever comes to an speaks are the ones we hear from and the ones that do not come we do not hear from, but we have to be really knowledgeable about who really does live within an area and who represents the area.
finally, there has been a lot of discussion on the subject of profits and nonprofits and those sorts of things. i think what the public has to understand and i think most of them do is there's nothing wrong with having a profit. if you are a viable business, you probably better have a profit. for accounting purposes, a lot of times it the plough money back into equipment, you cannot expense it all in the same year -- if you plow money back into equipment. the same with a real estate acquisition. the principle is not deductible. you will by necessity show a profit. i think that if you -- just because a particular company has a profit does not mean that there is something wrong with them. in fact, it may be in a lot of it is being funneled back into investments -- it may mean a lot of it is being funneled back into investments. then i have questions for staff. i spoke to some of the staff
regarding this, and it has to do with the band a special use district in the plan, which we have heard a lot about but never really gotten any paper work on. we will be asked to make some decisions in regards to this without actually having the plan before us. i have asked planning staff to provide at least a memo that summarizes it did not the actual document, so we can read them over and understand what is actually asked here. in the standing in terms of the housing for the van ness special use district, that a significant portion of the units we have asked for in the 1970's and 1980's have actually already been built, and a few more are entitled. that is important to know where we are on the goal of this plan, and it will satisfy a lot of it, we may have different ideas. also, i want to know about
exceptions. i pointed out in the past and as for answers about the former lincoln dealership that is not a theater and has parking and apparently does have some condominiums in there as well, but i wonder if the ratio is really 31 housing. the same with the san francisco board, which regrettably may be closing, but that is an automotive dealerships that is a new business and new use of that space prior to what was there. you know, i am wondering how we have applied this housing requirement in the past on other projects that have come forward. so those are a couple of things. finally, and this is also in regards to the entire california specific issue. i do not know planning can do this, and it may have to get some counseling, but we really need to have some accurate figures on charitable contributions by hospitals. at our representative and kind of compare these by staff, not
by just what someone brings up in discussion, which i did not necessarily think those statistics have to be used as accurate. staff have to do the work to figure of what kind of contributions from two hospitals, such as stanford or mills pacific or catholic healthcare west or kaiser or ucsf. as we move forward on the issue, we have to move forward with good documents and good information because we cannot make informed decisions unless we have good information. i am thankful for the work sap has done. they have been doing a great job, but we have to go a little further before we can have all the facts. commissioner moore: i went to a spur meeting on tuesday. the department was very strong. sarah dennis was representing planning. someone from the mayor's office of housing.
a strong discussion focusing on the role of the region and particularly san francisco's role in looking at in the dedication. i think we are on a very good track. it might make sense to have an abbreviated version of that particular presentation in front of the commission. there are many challenges, obviously, of what that all means. there were only two sides in that discussion. some of us had some problems with the project because it only had been suffocation at parkmerced and treasure island, but the rest of the city was baird. it would be interesting if indeed at some point, the department could find a grant to really look with a fine tooth comb under the microscope of how identification really physically can happen -- of how it